Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Christ is Risen!

"Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death; and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life." Troparion of Pascha

Typically, Orthodox Christians greet each other during the period after Pascha with the exchange: "Christ is risen!" "Truly, He is risen!" It is a joyous moment during the liturgy of Pascha when this declaration is first proclaimed; and the joy is meant to continue throughout the season of Pascha -- and beyond. Indeed, we are called to continually remember our Lord's death and resurrection, by which human nature has been transformed. We participate in this transformation by baptism and chrismation, in receiving the holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by striving to overcome who we are, in order to become who we are meant by God to be: bearers of the image of Christ, so that we may present Him to the world. The joy of the troparion is meant to sustain us at all times: having destroyed death by His death, we are no longer subject to death; and so we do not need to cling to the things of this world, for it is not meant to be our home. We do not need to pursue the pleasures of the world, the flesh, or the devil, for none of these will endure. We do not need to live according to the old habits that were ours before we embraced the joyous reality of the end of death; for we, trapped as we were in this existence in and of the world, were entombed in the world and its ways; but now we have been given life; and a life over which death has no dominion, no power.

Good News from Holy Archangels Orthodox Church in Phoenix

Our first Paschal celebration came in 2002. There were eight people in attendance, with eight communicants -- rattling around in a borrowed church that would hold 300-400 people! In 2003, in a rented office suite, there were twenty-four people attending, and twenty-two communions. This year, in our own building, there were 46 people attending, and 38 communicants! Truly, God is doing great and wondrous things; and we give thanks for the mercy and grace and blessings that have been given to us. May God continue to build for Himself a community of the faithful here in Phoenix; and in every part of this land!